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Picture of arnie
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New topic started....


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Moved Reply:

Are these problems getting better or worse?

1. War
2. Disease
3. Global poverty
4. Public safety
5. Crime
6. Teenage drug use
7. Abortions
8. Welfare
9. Teenage pregnancies
10. School test scores

See what Marty Manly says: "Keeping the Tigers Away"
 
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Picture of BobHale
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CAN AN ADMINISTRATOR MOVE THIS INTO A SEPARATE THREAD PLEASE - It looks too interesting to be buried away in here.
 
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Picture of BobHale
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I think there a couple other effects that the article doesn't touch on but that happen a lot when people are asked if things are getting worse - Immediacy and Report Availability.

War is a perfect example of the first.
At the moment both America and Britain are involved in two very high profile wars (though we don't use the W-word to describe them) - in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because we are directly involved and because they are taking place right now we perceive the problem of "War" as being on the increase. Wars that are over, especially if they didn't involve us as one of the central participants, are forgotten. They are done and gone and not immediate enough to demand our attention. The current wars are ongoing so "War is getting worse."

A good example of the problem of Report Availability is Crime. Crime isn't any worse now than it ever was but what is worse (or better, if you look at it in a certain light) is that we hear more about it. Television, newspapers and so on take the smallest crime and tell us about it. The best example of how this colours our views is one not in the list - child abuse (and especially child abduction). It has always been and, given the nature of society, probably always will be, the case that the overwhelming majority of child abuse takes place within the family. Child abductions are actually statistically very rare occurrences BUT a family member interfering with a child is often hushed up, or the child not believed and in any case is a much less scary story than a stranger taking your child. The newspapers give scant coverage to the former unless there are other lurid details involved but trumpet it in banner headlines if a child is thought to have been abducted. This has led to culture of terror among parents who are often afraid to let their children play outside, even in their own garden, for fear of it. We hear more about the problem than we did fifty or a hundred years ago not because the problem is worse but because the reporting is better. Because we hear more about it, it must be worse.

I could go through the others in the list but truthfully, even before I read the article, I didn't think any were actually significantly better or worse than they have been in the past.
 
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A fascinating talk about perception and reality, in this case with respect to global development.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Thanks, neveu. Informative, and very funny!
 
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Yes, neveu, that was a great link. Clicking the "What to watch next" link leads to another great talk. You can keep going on and on. Thanks!
 
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By the way, in neveu's link, Hans Rosling mentions a non-profit organization he formed to create the software that writes the incredible graphics he uses. In his words (at 16 minutes):
quote:
We call it Gapminder, from London Underground where they warn "You mind the gap." We thought Gapminder was appropriate.
 
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